Sunday I set out to complete my #1 goal for 2010: to become a marathoner. As you may know if you've been reading my blog for awhile, I decided back in 2005 when I first started distance running that Green Bay would be my first full as I'm a HUGE Packers fan.
Extra shockingly, there were no hardcore race nerves. My nerves were so bad on Saturday that I wasn't hungry at. all. I literally had to force food down my throat. Sidenote: this is NOT normal. I am an EATER. Luckily I was 100% able to drink beer and enjoyed one at Curly's Pub and a special brew by Titletown of 26.2 created just for the race. Can you say awesome?
Got to Lambeau and made bathroom stop #1. Did some stretching and was surprised that a knot I've had in my upper right calve was still there from Thursday's easy run. Get in a loooong line for bathroom stop #2. Somehow I'm not stuck waiting in line for the bathroom during the Star Spangled Banner (this seriously happens to me in EVERY race leading to some major nerves that I'm going to miss the start/get stuck in the back/etc.)
I made sure to check my garmin frequently in those first few miles to avoid getting swept up in the crowds. There were so many people lined up on the course, it was amazing. So many adorable little kid Packer fans that I wanted to steal, and many other easy on the eyes Packer men. Ooh la la! [Sidenote: Whenever I see a Packer fan, I immediately check him out. I think I'm destined to marry a Cheese Head. With so many dudes on the course in Packer gear I was in heaven, but almost overly stimulated...whoa! :P]
The miles continued to cruise by, and I somehow managed not to do the mileage countdown game in my head. Nothing worse than getting to the 10k mark and thinking 20 to go. Shoot me now. The crowd definitely thinned out during this point, which was nice. There were a couple of run-walkers that were leap frogging with me during these miles which was entertaining. I met a dude who is an Ironman (crazy fool) who was shooting for a 4:10 finish. I told him I was going to keep my eye on him and let him pace me. Sadly he stopped leap frogging with me around the half way mark. I took my second GU at mile 10.
As many people tweeted who were following me at home via email/text message updates, I was running a ridiculously even pace. Each time I would get to a mile marker, I would spend a minute or so figuring out what my average pace was. It hovered around 9:22-9:23 until mile 15. The halfers and fullers split off around 12 miles. I was running with a group of dudes at this point, and once we were out of ear shot of the half marathoners, I had to blurt out, "This is where we separate the men from the boys!" Of course that got a good laugh out of them, and my one witty comment of the day was used up. :) At the 13.1 mark, I was at 2:02:35 and I thought that my 4:04-4:08 goal frame was in reach. I took my next GU at mile 14.
My only complaint about this race (because it truly has had my heart long before I even ran it) is that the crowd support diiiiiiies after the halfway point. Understandable, since there are 5000 half marathoners and 2000 marathoners, but stinky for us going the full distance. During this stretch I started to get really really hot. The clouds that were supposed to be out shielding us from the rays were no where to be seen, and I was toasty. I started grabbing two water cups at each station, one to drink and another to dump on my back and a splash for my head. Felt. So. Good. Highlight of this section (and best fluid station EVER!) was the little punk rock kids jammin' a Blink 182 song!!!! I was soooo excited. I'm a big Blink fan, and it made my day that little junior highers were rockin' their tunes. I took my next GU at mile 18. And yes I was soooo sick of GU at this point. Ugh.
Yeah, screw you mile 18. I hate you. Always have, probably always will. Sorry, if you forget my intense hatred for 18 milers please revisit. I was getting close to the 20 miler mark; the point where I was going to estimate where I was physically to assess what my finish goal time should be. Assessment: nap time! jk. But it would've been nice. I knew speeding up was not an option, except for maybe the last 2-3 miles. I would continue on at a steady pace. Based on my calculations at this point, I should be able to finish at ~4:10 if I stayed at a steady pace and didn't give in to walking (although I wanted to REALLY REALLY BAD!).
The Mile 20 "Wall Party" was simply awesome. You could hear them from about 1/2 mile away (which actually wasn't a good thing because you just wanted to *be* there not at 19.5) and there was a huge inflatable castle wall that we ran under. People were lined up along the route for a good 1/4 of a mile screaming their faces off. It was great. :) I took my last GU at mile 22 and resisted the urge to GU all over those running around me. I knew I needed it but did NOT want it. Even a little bit. Ick.
I was so ready to be done. My hips hurt. My IT bands hurt. That calve tightness I mentioned earlier? It hurt for the first 15 miles, but then because everything else hurt so much, I forgot about it. Excellent. Everyone around me was walking, and I really wanted to join in. I was so overheated that I started to get cold. Uh oh. Jeri doesn't really *get* cold. : / I knew if I stopped to walk I may not get started again. I saw those around me stop to walk, start up for a few seconds, and then revert back to walking. I did not want to go through that pain. Plus, my 4:10 finish was still in sight if I could run 10 minute miles. 10 minute miles are EASY right? I can run that without trying, right? Wrong. Hah.
Oh heeeeeey there 10 minute and 10 minute + miles. I haven't seen you in a year and a half of training. How are you dooooooing? Luckily I was in such a daze, I didn't even hear my garmin beep, thus not seeing these times. Guarenteed I would've stopped because I for sure felt like I was running an 8:30 pace.
26.2 miles in 4:12:00. Yeah, I'm *that* good. For a pace of 9:37.
*That* meaning I finished with :00 for the record. ;)
Yes my clock time and Garmin time were the same again with the :00. I swear I'm just as impressed as you all are. ;)
So there you have it. I'M A MARATHONER!!!!
Toughest thing I have ever done in my life, and biggest accomplishment to date.
Thanks to everyone for all of your support. Even though I didn't have anyone out on the course, I knew there were tons of you checking your emails, text updates, refreshing the race website, tweeting away cheering for me, texting me to HUSTLE UP (haha!), writing on my facebook wall. You are all amazing and much appreciated.
When's #2? ;)